Gold outlook: Is the rally for real?

(16 March 2014)  Gold prices moved higher last week as Russia tightened its hold on Crimea and threatened a full-scale invasion of the rest of Ukraine.  Gold is a traditional safe haven investment that often does well in times of geopolitical uncertainty, as the current crisis in Ukraine shows.  Gold finished the week at $1382, well above its recent low of $1180 set at the end of December.   But can gold extend its rally and recapture its previous levels of $1900 or is this just a short-lived technical bounce?  With the Fed going ahead with its taper of QE, gold seems less attractive as currency debasement and inflation fears are receding. A major war on European soil would no doubt revive gold's fortunes, but that seems unlikely as most analysts do not expect NATO or the US going to war over Ukraine, a traditional Russian satellite within its sphere of influence.

There are any number of astrological techniques that are useful in forecasting the price of gold.  The one I would like to highlight today is tertiary progressions. 
Tertiaries are a Western astrological technique that assume a symbolic equivalence between time frames of planetary motion.  Tertiary progressions (TP) assume that one day's worth of motion of the planets will contain a symbolic significance for one lunar month.  This is a condensed ratio of time that is 1:27, in which 27 is the approximate number of days in a lunar month.  The advantage of tertiary progressions over transits, for example, is that they move less slowly and are therefore more powerful in describing major events and trends.  In a tertiary progressed chart the inner planets such as the Sun, Mercury and Venus move about one degree per month of real time while more distant planets like Jupiter and Saturn may only move a few minutes of arc per month.  Since motion is slower than with regular transits, close alignments are rarer and last longer.  They are therefore more likely to produce significant manifestations.

We can take a look at the horoscope for gold prices to see how this technique works.  Using the 1919 London Gold chart, we can see that the high for gold at $1920 in September 2011 occurring during a very favourable pattern in the tertiary progressed chart.  TP Neptune (24 Cancer) is just one degree from the MC or 10th house cusp, one of the most sensitive points in the chart.  Jupiter (23 Libra) is closely aligned with Neptune represents a clear bullish influence that had been in place for several years as its angle with Neptune tightened.  This Jupiter-Neptune alignment was joined by benefics Mercury (20 Capricorn) and Venus (24 Scorpio).  TP Mercury had stationed retrograde in June 2011 at 22 Capricorn but was still within range of the slower moving duo of Jupiter and Neptune. 

Three of the four planets in this alignment were bullish planets and this was a key reason why this pattern represented the culmination of an up trend.  Once the planets began to separate, the bullish energy began to fade.  While TP Jupiter would continue to tighten its 90 degree angle with Neptune for several more months, it would lack any supporting planet such as Venus or Mercury that would help to bring out its positive energy.  As a result, the gold price started to fall. 

By way of comparison, let's look at the progressed chart for first low of $1180 in late June 2013.  Not surprisingly, Saturn is more prominent in this chart.  Saturn is a bearish planet that is often implicated in significant lows.   Mars is in close opposition to Saturn here, and Mars sits in a conjunction with the natal Moon.  Mars is another malefic planet that tend to be involved with declines and market lows.  This was an additional layer of affliction to gold and represented the end of a huge and somewhat shocking price decline after gold's celebrated all-time high less than two years before.  Once Mars had moved off from the Moon and out of its alignment with Saturn, gold rallied somewhat.  Gold would revisit this low of $1180 in December as progressed Saturn was once again activated by an alignment with Jupiter and Venus. 

Looking ahead, the tertiary progressed chart for gold looks uninspiring for the rest of 2014.  We can see that TP Saturn remains in close opposition to the natal Moon.  This is usually a negative influence and argues against any major rally in gold.  Jupiter, Saturn and Rahu (NN) are all in close alignment at the moment and I take this is a largely mixed to negative influence.  While Jupiter is bullish and Rahu can go either way, the presence of Saturn in this very slow moving alignment undermines everything else. TP Mercury will align with these other planets later in the year in August-September so that is another potential low point for gold. 

To be sure, this rather mixed tertiary chart does not preclude more short term upside for gold.  Tertiary progressions are less useful for finely tuned predictions and better for identifying medium term trends.  With that caveat in mind, we can say that this tertiary chart suggests that gold is unlikely to move much higher in 2014.  Moreover, the presence of the Mercury-Saturn aspect and later the Venus-Mars aspect in Q4 means that gold will likely suffer significant declines.  Mercury's opposition with natal Mars and TP Neptune in the next several months are also problematic aspects in this respect.  One wild card is that the TP Sun-Uranus conjunction in August does seem quite bullish and may indicate a sudden, sharp rally.  However, this seems unlikely to be sustainable in the longer term.

Financial Markets Update

While gold rallied last week, stocks stumbled as investors bailed out of risky assets.  The Dow lost 2% closing at 16,065 while in India the Sensex suffered only marginal losses finishing at 21,809.  This decline was in keeping with our expectations as I thought the two Saturn aspects on Tuesday and Thursday would likely be a drag on sentiment.  Interestingly, the Dow's two biggest down days of the week occurred on Tuesday and Thursday. 

This week looks somewhat more encouraging as the early week Venus-Jupiter aspect suggests a rebound.  The midweek Sun-Rahu alignment is somewhat more problematic, however, so that is more of a question mark.  Interestingly, the Sun-Rahu aspect occurs just as the Fed releases its latest policy statement on Wednesday.  This is not a hugely negative aspect so I would be surprised if there was a strong reaction to Yellen.  That said, it does not seem conducive for a big market rally either.